Van Lierde and Vesterby Take Ironman Cozumel
by Shawn Skene, photos by: Eddie DC Silvers/FinisherPix
Van Lierde holds off all challengers
Barrett Brandon (USA) led the men out of the emerald waters of Chankanaab Park Beach. Just seconds behind the leader, a group that included Stephen Bayliss (GBR), Igor Amorelli (BRA), Jarod Shoemaker (USA), and Frederik Van Lierde (BEL).
It would be Van Lierde and Amorelli who would go out in front of the race early and build upon their advantage throughout the first two laps of the three lap course.
Two-time winner in Cozumel, Michael Weiss (AUT) put in a huge solo effort late in the bike and bridge the gap to the lead pair and eventually dismounted his bike first—just seconds before Amorelli and Van Vierde.
In the first seven kilometers of the run, Van Lierde and Weiss forged their way to the front of the race while Amorelli faded. Behind the lead pair, Chris Leiferman (USA) and Matt Russell (USA) worked their way past Amorelli and started to slowly chew into Van Lierde and Weiss’s lead. By 21 kms Van Lierde broke Weiss and was now enjoying a three-minute advantage on Russell and almost four minutes on Leiferman. Russell was exercising his strong suit of a killer run and it appeared that he was being rewarded as he closed the gap to just over two minutes with 10 kms to go. Van Lierde was having no part of succumbing totally to Russell and the Belgium dug deep to keep the hard charging American at bay over the final seven kms. The 2013 IRONMAN world champion successfully held off Russell and Van Lierde claim the win while bettering the course record by over nine minutes. Russell would cross the line second 1:15 after Van Lierde while Leiferman would complete the podium.
Vesterby’s patience rewarded
Lauren Brandon (USA) put on a swim clinic that watched her scramble up the stairs and onto the dock with advantages of near five minutes on Michelle Vesterby (DEN), and Camilla Pedersen (DEN).
Early into the bike, Vesterby and Pedersen broke away from the field and worked together to chase Brandon down. It took close to 100 kms to reel Brandon in and when they did, Brandon stubbornly hung on to the Danish duo. The lead trio would dismount their bikes together with Vesterby leading the charge into T2.
Now on the run, Pedersen and Vesterby ran shoulder to shoulder and spit Brandon off the back. Brandon would find herself a minute and half back of the lead pair at seven kms and was losing time with each passing km. Pederson was first to make a move and had a 54 second buffer on Vesterby at 14 kms and padded it to 1:34 at the halfway point of the marathon. The leading margin remained the same at 28 kms while Brandon was holding onto third, but was over six minutes in arrears to Pedersen.
At 33 kms, the wheels fell off of Pedersen’s run and would relinquish the lead to Vesterby with seven kms remaining in the run. Pedersen hit the wall hard as she surrendered over six minutes to Vesterby over the final seven kms as well as second place to Brandon. Vesterby would hold on for the win while Brandon had an excellent outing and second place finish to show for her effort on the day in on the tropical Island. Pedersen gamely struggled those closing kms to salvage a podium finish for her endeavor.
Top 5 Pro Men
|1||Van Lierde, Frederik||BEL||0:43:46||4:22:37||2:52:42||8:03:09|
Top 5 Pro Women
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